Ajay Devgn-Kiccha Sudeep spat and return of the Hindi debate | VIEW
Last evening, Twitter turned into a war zone when Bollywood heavyweight Ajay Devgn shot a tweet at Kannada superstar Kuccha Sudeep, criticising his ‘Hindi is no more a national language’ comment. What followed was a bloodbath. More tweets were fired, and like the bad CGI of BR Chopra’s Mahabharata, we could see one 240-character arrow piercing the other – thunder, lightning and the works accompanied. Ajay pounced, Singham style. Sudeep roared. Twitter growled. Aah, the Return of the Hindi debate. But did it ever go away? Truth is, netas have been banging tables over this for a while now, abhinetas have only joined in.
Proof of that lies in headlines from April 8, when Union Home Minister Amit Shah declared we should accept Hindi as an alternative to English. “Time has come to make the Official Language an important part of the unity of the country. When people from states which speak other languages communicate with each other, it should be in the language of India,” read a part of the statement issued by the Press Information Bureau (PIB). The honourable Home Minister also intends to enhance this ‘language of India’ by incorporating words from other languages – like the Oxford dictionary does every year. “Unless we make Hindi flexible by accepting words from other local languages, it will not be promoted,” the statement went on. The Opposition cried ‘Hindi imposition’ but their cry remained a sniffle – made headlines, no impact.
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So what makes the pro-Hindi voice drown all else? ‘Loudspeakers’ and ‘mouthpieces’ aside, it wasn’t long ago that taxi drivers in Mumbai would refuse you a ride if you so much as uttered the word ‘bhaiyaa’ and not ‘bhau’. Yet in 2019, Uttar Pradesh ke Nawazuddin Siddiqui was roped in to essay the role of one of the loudest voices of the Marathi Manoos brigade – Balasaheb Thackeray. Oh, irony, how thee wince under the iron fist.
What changed in the decade between 2008 and 2019 is the actualisation of a concept called ‘bahumat’ or majority. A concept every hue and shade of politics wanted, but could never really touch. One that remained ever-elusive, until May 26, 2014. And suddenly, there wasn’t even the need to tip their crisp white Gandhi topis to the ‘other’. It is now the Hindi (and in some cases the Hindu) way, or no way at all.
But not everything can be taken by force. Where ‘dand’ may grab eyeballs, ‘saam, daam’ and other soft power could deliver the ‘bhed’ even if it were at the cost of ‘bhed-bhao’. That’s where cinema and the remake culture come in. Who is to say that the wave of South cinema remakes that flooded Bollywood in the last decade was not with the aim to appropriate? Like the association principle several surrogate ads are pivoted on, remaking an original regional content into Hindi with completely new actors will only embed the ‘new’ face into our collective psyche. So Drishyam will be associated with Devgn and not Mohanlal. PS. if the surrogate ad analogy reminded you of one elaichi that got stuck in the wrong place recently, well, it was completely unintentional.
So, finally, where does the idea of Akhand Bharat begin? The geographical expanse of this phrase might spread beyond Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, Maratha, but breaking it down to the lowest common denominator, it stands to unify. Or at least it should. Yet, in effect, it is only functioning as your laptop’s paint-brush feature – select colour > select fill > click.
Read the full article at: indiatoday.in